A variety of evaluation methods for user interfaces (UI) exist such as usability testing, cognitive walkthrough, and heuristic evaluation. However, UIs such as guidance systems at transit hubs must be evaluated in their intended application field to allow the effective and valid identification of usability flaws. However, what if evaluations are not feasible in real environments, or laboratorial conditions cannot be ensured? Based on adapted heuristics, in the present study, the method of heuristic evaluation is combined with immersive Virtual Reality (VR) for the identification of usability flaws of dynamic guidance systems (DGS) at transit hubs. The study involved usability evaluations of nine DGS concepts using the newly proposed method. The results show that compared to computer-based heuristic evaluations, the use of immersive VR led to the identification of an increased amount of “severe” usability flaws as well as overall usability flaws. Within a qualitative assessment, immersive VR is validated as a suitable tool for conducting heuristic evaluations involving significant advantages such as the creation of realistic experiences in laboratorial conditions. Future work seeks to further prove the suitability of using immersive VR for heuristic evaluations and compare the proposed method to other evaluative methods.
Received: 20 December 2022 / Revised: 31 January 2023 / Accepted: 7 February 2023 / Published: 9 February 2023